Life was great before coronavirus grounded me.
I finally started earning decent money and cleared all my debt, I was going out all the time and having flings.
Lockdown wasn’t too painful because I live with my sister and I kept my job. I continued speaking daily with a guy I was seeing before lockdown and we’ve picked up where we left off.
But something’s different now.
The sex feels less passionate and yet I feel so pulled to him. He’s very interesting and kind. When I suggested wearing something sexy for him he was hesitant.
What do you think is going on?
You’re not alone in missing pre-pandemic life and you’re not alone in finding change difficult, either.
‘But do we still want the same things we wanted before? Probably not,’ says James McConnachie. ‘The pandemic has changed the world and it has changed all of us. We’ve got to know sides of ourselves we weren’t so familiar with. We’ve had to get used to anxiety, uncertainty and doubt – and, for many, loneliness and isolation.’
You say lockdown was soothed by the company of your sister and retaining your job. How was his lockdown?
‘Knowing this may help you understand what’s going on now,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin. ‘Some of us aren’t slipping back into our old life and our old self.’
For many, everything is different now. ‘We’re experiencing a global trauma that’s impacted every level from broad, social functions such as work and the economy to personal things such as emotions,’ says Rupert Smith, who wonders whether your concerns might be because he is getting too close.
He adds: ‘Before, you were having flings and avoiding emotional entanglements, which can be great fun as long as you’re not avoiding involvement because something painful happened in the past.’
While many of us are content to be unattached, you say he has qualities you want more of, which according to Rudkin ‘is a sign of long-term compatibility rather than a fizzing fling’.
And the kind of sex you have during a fling is very different from the sex you have with a potential partner.
‘When you’re in a relationship, sex is a way of reaching a deep connection as well as getting your rocks off,’ says Smith. ‘Dressing up is great fun but, in my experience, not an obvious way of achieving deep intimacy. So perhaps this hesitancy as you get closer is coming from you, not him.’
Stop looking backwards and ruminating about what used to be or what could have been.
‘Instead of comparing the present with the past, compare what you have with what you want and deserve,’ says McConnachie. ‘Does this guy fit into the future you want? That’s all that counts.’
- Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist
- James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)
- Rupert Smith is the author of Interlude (Turnaround)
Got a sex and relationships dilemma? Email it to [email protected]
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